Symposium Speakers

 Click the speaker to learn more about them:

Robbie Barbero

From September 2012 to January 2017, Robbie worked in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he developed and implemented policy on a wide range of global and national life science issues, including the President’s BRAIN Initiative, novel nutrient production platforms, genome editing, reducing the organ transplant waiting list, student agriculture innovation and entrepreneurship, developing world cancer diagnostics, biotechnology regulatory policy, and federal R&D agency budgets. Robbie is now the Chief Business Officer at Ceres Nanosciences, a small, venture-backed biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative sample preparation products and diagnostic tests.  Robbie has undergraduate and graduate degrees in biological engineering from Dartmouth and MIT. Between undergraduate and graduate school he spent five years working for three biotechnology startup companies in positions in quality control, process design, manufacturing, and customer support. At MIT, he worked in Angela Belcher’s Biomolecular Materials Group on projects covering antimicrobial peptides, carbon capture, and industrial biocatalysts.

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Bill Bonvillian

William B. Bonvillian is a Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in MIT’s Science Technology and Society and Political Science Departments. He is an advisor on research projects at MIT’s Industrial Performance Center and a senior director at MIT’s Office of Digital Learning.  Previously, he was Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Washington, D.C. Office between 2006 and 2017, supporting MIT’s historic role on national science and technology policy. He has been writing about advanced manufacturing since 2012, was an advisor to MIT’s Production in the Innovation Economy study issued in 2013, and participated for MIT in the industry-university Advanced Manufacturing Partnership and its reports of 2011 and 2014. Prior to MIT, he served for over fifteen years as a senior policy advisor in the U.S. Senate working on innovation issues.

His upcoming book, Advanced Manufacturing – The New American Innovation Policies (with Peter L. Singer), will be released in the fall of 2017 by MIT Press. His 2015 book Technological Innovation in Legacy Sectors, with Charles Weiss of Georgetown, was published by Oxford University Press and takes up the challenge of bringing innovation to complex, established “legacy” economic sectors that constitute most of the economy. Their book Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution, published by MIT Press in 2009, proposed new models for energy technology innovation. He has written extensively on science and technology policy issues in numerous journals, including Science, Issues in Science and Technology, Nature, Science and Public Policy, Innovations, Annals of Science and Technology Policy, Environment, and American Interest.

He has lectured and given speeches before numerous organizations on science, technology and innovation questions, and is on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, as well as teaching at MIT. He is on the National Academies’ standing committee for the Science Policy Forum, and served on five other Academies’ committees. He serves on the AAAS Committee on Science Engineering and Public Policy, and on the Board of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. He was the recipient of the IEEE Distinguished Public Service Award in 2007 and was elected a Fellow by the AAAS in 2011.

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Meghan Houghton

Information Science and Engineering (CISE). Meghan supports an array of emerging CISE research frontiers, including Smart and Connected Communities, as well as cross-agency, industry, and international partnerships. Meghan is co-chair of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program’s Smart Cities & Communities Task Force and executive secretary for the Computer Science for All Interagency Working Group under National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Committee on STEM Education. Meghan joined NSF in September 2015 as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow. She earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology at the University of California, Davis, and B.E. Cum Laude at Vanderbilt University also in Biomedical Engineering. Prior to her AAAS Fellowship, Meghan was a Biomedical Engineer at VSP Global, a leading vision care provider.

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Matt Hourihan

Matt Hourihan is the director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where he is a regular source of information and analyses on past, present, and future science budgets for policymakers and the science community. He has served in this position since 2011.

Prior to joining AAAS, he served as a clean energy policy analyst at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). While at ITIF, he tracked federal energy R&D investments and innovation activities, and authored several white papers and policy briefs exploring the role of innovation in solving the nation’s energy and climate challenges. He also regularly coordinated Congressional briefings, conferences, and events bringing together leading experts in government, industry, and academia. Previously, he served as Jan Schori Fellow at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of energy firms and utilities working to engage policymakers for market-based solutions to sustainable energy development and climate change.

As a student, he interned with the AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Congress, now the Office of Government Relations. He earned a masters degree in public policy with a focus on science and technology policy at George Mason University, and a B.A. in journalism from Ithaca College. He has also served as a cause communications professional and journalist in a variety of roles.

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Christopher King

Christopher King is the Executive Director of the Office of Congressional and Government Affairs at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.  Prior to joining the National Academies, Chris served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy where he advised the DOE Secretary and leadership on engagements with the U.S. Congress, state, tribal, city and county governments, and key external stakeholders.  After joining the DOE in 2013, Chris served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis (EPSA) and, prior to that, as the Director of Policy Analysis for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).  Before joining DOE, Chris spent over a decade on Capitol Hill, including as the Staff Director of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee for the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee.  During his tenure with the Committee, he was the chief advisor on Department of Energy matters and led a number of successful legislative initiatives, including passage of the America COMPETES Act and the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).  Mr. King is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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Laura Petes

Laura Petes is the Manager of the Coastal Communities Program in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management and oversees implementation of the National Coastal Zone Management Program. The Program works with states and territories to address today’s most pressing coastal issues and balance the demands of coastal resource use, economic development, and conservation. She previously served as Ecosystem Science Advisor in the NOAA Climate Program Office, where she worked to strengthen partnerships to advance integration of science into coastal decision making and management. Laura also served for three years as the Assistant Director for Climate Adaptation and Ecosystems at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), where she led the Climate Resilience team and the OSTP resilience portfolio under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. She has been integrally involved in a number of major U.S. climate and ocean initiatives, including the National Ocean Policy and the National Climate Assessment. Laura is a marine ecologist by training, with expertise in the impacts of global change on coastal and marine ecosystems; she received a BA in Biology from Cornell University and a PhD in Zoology from Oregon State University. Her introduction to the policy world was through an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at NOAA.

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Alia Schoen

Dr. Alia Schoen works as a Public Policy Manager on the policy and business development team at Bloom Energy, a stationary fuel cell manufacturer whose vision is to make clean, reliable energy affordable for everyone in the world. Alia received her bachelor’s degree in the Integrated Science Program at Northwestern University, her master’s degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, then worked in the Protein Chemistry department at Genentech for two and a half years. She returned to Stanford for her doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering where she developed protein-based materials to control inorganic nanomaterial synthesis and assembly. While completing her PhD, Alia developed an interest in science communication and volunteered as a science writer for the Materials Research Society. After graduation, she followed this interest further and sought out a Science Policy Fellowship through the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). As a Science Policy Fellow she had the privilege of working in the California State Assembly for Assemblymember Das Williams, whose key interests included energy and the environment. Alia remains dedicated to the application of interdisciplinary scientific understanding and communication to societal challenges and continues to leverage her interdisciplinary education as well as her time in the CA State Assembly in her career at Bloom.

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Al Teich

Albert H. (Al) Teich is a Research Professor of Science, Technology & International Affairs at the Center for International Science & Technology Policy in the Elliott School of George Washington University in Washington, DC, a position he’s held since February 2012. Prior to joining the GW faculty, he was director of Science & Policy Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where he was responsible for the Association’s activities in science and technology policy, managed a staff of 40 people, and served as a key spokesman on science policy issues.

As a research professor, he has no teaching responsibilities and sets his own research agenda within science and technology policy, according to his interests and the availability of funding. Al is currently engaged in an NSF (National Science Foundation) funded study of the evolution of U.S. science policy research from the end of World War II to the present. In 2014, he completed a major project on U.S. visa policy for scientists and engineers, the results of which were published in the National Academies’ journal, Issues in Science & Technology and subsequently excerpted in Slate.  Other areas in which he is interested include (but are not limited to): globalization and its impacts on science and technology; budgeting and priority-setting in research; and the politics and administration of international “big science” institutions.

Al is a Fellow of AAAS; a member of the Board of Governors of the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) and chairman of the Board of the American Friends of the BSF; a member of the advisory committee to the S&T Fellows program of the California Council for Science and Technology; an honorary member of the Washington Science Diplomats Club;  and a member of the Technical Advisory Committee to the Maine Space Grant Consortium.

He holds a B.S. in Physics (1964) and a Ph.D. in Political Science (1969), both from MIT.

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Isaah Vincent

Dr. Isaah Vincent joined the Office of Disease Prevention at the NIH as a Health Scientist in August 2016. He was awarded a 2016 Science and Technology Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and chose to serve in the Office of Disease Prevention during his fellowship. Dr. Vincent is interested in international scientific collaboration, and has collaborated with scientists in Dusseldorf, Germany. He is also actively involved in mentorship. He has trained three undergraduate mentees and organized postdoctoral skill and enrichment activities such as scientific and non-scientific audience presentations, as well as career development. His interests lie in fostering intra- and interagency scientific collaborations, performing portfolio analyses, and disseminating scientific communications to various audiences.

Dr. Vincent received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a concurrent Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Iowa State University before going on to the University of Virginia to pursue his Ph.D. in Microbiology/Immunology in the laboratory of Victor Engelhard. In the Engelhard lab, he focused on the function of lymphocytes in the tumor microenvironment and hypoxic regulation of lymphocyte activation. He pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Okusa, focusing on regulation of chronic kidney disease and fibrosis by natural killer (NK) cells.

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